The load-bearing capacity of today's tissue-engineered (TE) cartilage is insufficient. The arcade-like collagen network in native cartilage plays an important role in its load-bearing properties. Inducing the formation of such collagen architecture in engineered cartilage can, therefore, enhance mechanical properties of TE cartilage. Considering the well-defined relationship between tensile strains and collagen alignment in the literature, we assume that cues for inducing this orientation should come from mechanical loading. In this study, strain fields prescribed by loading conditions of unconfined compression, sliding indentation and a novel loading regime of compression-sliding indentation are numerically evaluated to assess the probability that these would trigger a physiological collagen architecture. Results suggest that sliding indentation is likely to stimulate the formation of an appropriate superficial zone with parallel fibres. Adding lateral compression may stimulate the formation of a deep zone with perpendicularly aligned fibres. These insights may be used to improve loading conditions for cartilage tissue engineering.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|